Downtown Report: Early November Edition

Save the Ocean

You may not have noticed storm drains around town, but anyone in Southern California knows just how much toxic waste we pour into our life-giving Pacific Ocean.

Storm drain.

In addition to that mess, the most recent oil spill and others in the past have raised issues even here in Fullerton. Urban runoff pollutants are the reason why, years ago, when we were about to put a few tons of manmade snow on the SoCo alley for Winterfest, we had to power wash the parking lot and the entire alley from where the snow would eventually melt, all the way to the storm drain. Not sure how long the journey down our storm drains is but we are less than 20 miles from the beach and with a heavy rain, urban runoff (see flotsam and jetsam) can eventually make it into our channels, creeks, bays, and of course the ocean. As much as we needed the recent rain, just imagine how much waste had built up over time and what will happen when we eventually get the heavy rain we were promised.

Flotsam meets jetsam at Hillcrest Park.

Downtown restaurants stopped washing their kitchen mats outside because all the kitchen grease, etc. would end up in the drain and on its way. Many restaurants now use a service that leases their mats and comes by to pick up the dirty ones and cleans them at their facility.

Any power washing now must be done with an additional device that sucks up the filthy water so it can be taken away and treated.

Knowing this, when something appeared on the Community Voices page in the Mid October Observer alleging, “Almost every day…a Fullerton Public Works employee power-washes the sidewalk and two front stoops of the Rutabegorz restaurant,” one had to wonder, how the heck? I drove over and it was apparent that the steps had not just been power washed. Time to set the record straight. I spoke with the owner and then the manager, and they were adamant that that does not happen, as were the folks at Public Works themselves. Perhaps there was confusion over the occasional cleaning of sidewalks and area around the dumpsters in the alley after the Thursday evening Fullerton Market?

Rutabegorz restaurant at 211 N. Pomona Ave.

Finely-Aged Wine Shop

Congratulations to all at the Twisted Vine, who recently celebrated 15 years downtown. It was originally a storage room for Fullerton Ace Hardware but owner Mike Olsen showed me around and told me that Chris Castillo from Heroes was going to turn it into a ‘wine shop.’ The interior walls came down, and one day I was there when Chris and helpers were doing what most did back then—taking the supporting walls back to bare brick. Funny how trends come and go—cover them up, bring them back and just like that, vintage vibe that works. And in case you don’t know, they have fantastic beer and food selections as well.

Twisted Vine owners Chris and Jessica Castillo (at left) make a toast.

Wild West

This vintage photo (above) was taken at 200 E. Wilshire and it’s easy to imagine cowboys riding up on their horses. The second photo (below) shows restoration work going on that includes exterior resurfacing and paint at the northeast corner of Harbor and Commonwealth where an old western style saloon is going in, as was discussed in the last issue. And on the corner, an Irish Pub/Restaurant is being built. Will there be horses?

Red Ribbon Week

On the week of October 25th, 2021, Valencia Park Elementary School started its Red Ribbon Week Campaign to promote living a Drug-Free lifestyle. Each day is set up with fun and engaging events designed to bring them together as a community to learn about the woes of drug use and to instill in them a focus on their purpose and futures.

Above is a picture cementing their commitment to teaching the children to stick together as a community and to strive for a life with no drugs. This came to be by pure happenstance when the school Principal, Dr. Muñoz, reached out to the Fullerton Airport to inquire about height restrictions so the school could use a drone to take a picture and some video. From that conversation, the Team at the Airport, in collaboration with Valencia Park Elementary, decided to partner up and send over a helicopter to participate in the event. The kids were super happy to see a helicopter fly so close and especially loved the fact that the pilot was there for them to help them further solidify the reason we participate in Red Ribbon Week (To Stay away from Drugs). Thank you Fullerton Airport and thank you to Rob Sims of Hangar 21 who provided the helicopter. What the picture represents now is not just the kids committing to staying away from drugs, but the community working together to keep kids away from drugs.

Photo Quiz

The sign is still there, the print shop is not. Where is this? Hint, the wonderful aroma of garlic is in the air. Send your answer to Mike at

1 reply »

  1. Very in depth article. Photos along with stories really bring it home. Great jop!